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Legislation possible in bid to end rail strike

TORONTO (AP) -- Canada's labor minister said Wednesday that the government will introduce legislation if necessary to end a strike at Canadian Pacific railway, which has forced the suspension of its freight service in Canada and the United States.

Teamsters Canada said the strike against Canada's second-largest railway started just after midnight Wednesday. The nation's larger railway, CN, can make up for some -- but not all -- of the transport needs.

The strike is expected to halt shipments of grain, fertilizer, coal, cars and other goods that Canadian Pacific moves along nearly 14,900 miles of track in Canada and the United States.

"We received a mandate to protect the Canadian economy, so that's why this morning I've already put on notice a bill to ensure that we are in a position to introduce legislation if necessary," Labor Minister Lisa Raitt said in Ottawa.

Raitt estimated that if the strike continues, it would cost the Canadian economy $540 million a week.

Union official Doug Finnson said issues are pensions, work rules and fatigue management.



Two foreign doctors among five abducted

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Two foreign doctors and their three Afghan colleagues have been kidnapped in a remote area in northeast Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday.

Abdul Maroof Rasikh, the spokesman for the governor of Badakhshan province, said it was unclear who kidnapped the five. He said they were abducted Tuesday while traveling on horseback between Yaftal and Ragh districts about 55 miles from the provincial capital of Faizabad.

He said the five were employed by a nonprofit humanitarian organization.

The organization, Swiss-based Medair, said that it had lost contact with its staff but considered this to be a "missing persons" case, spokesman Aurelien Demaurex said Wednesday.

Medair works in Afghanistan and other nations, providing emergency relief and rehabilitation, its website says.